Rory McIlroy’s Approach to Tournament Play

Take to the course with the right mentality and help improve your game with these tips from the pro golfer.

No matter your golfing style, casual or competitive, having the right mindset can help set your game up for success.

Professional golfer Rory McIlroy has experienced victory on golf’s biggest stages, but that doesn’t mean every shot has been perfect. While few players attain this elite status, his approach to tournament play can be helpful to golfers of all levels.


When it comes to his mentality on the course, McIlroy says it can be beneficial to have a short memory. He tries to take it one day at a time, with each round representing a fresh start. 

“No matter what’s happened, whether you’ve had a really good round or a really bad round. Whether it’s the first day, the fourth day, every day is a new day,” he says. “You wake up and you start on the same score. You’re even par for the day. That’s how I try to approach things.”

McIlroy reiterates the importance of trying to “leave things where they are.” No matter what happened that day, both positive and negative, the next round offers a new beginning. Don’t let yesterday’s missed putt turn into today’s bogey.

“Once you go to bed that night, you wake up the next morning; it’s a new day, new opportunities. And that’s how I try to approach [it],” he says.

With the mental side of your game squared up, it’s now time to work on the physical approach. Go from tee to green with McIlroy as he shares his tips for improving your drives and reading greens.

Wondering what McIlroy’s first big purchase was after turning pro? Curious to any superstitions he has on the course? Learn more in our “On Course with Rory McIlroy” and rapid-fire questions Pro Tips features.